Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Patricia Yarberry Allen, M.D. is a Gynecologist, Director of the New York Menopause Center, Clinical Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Weill Cornell Medical College, and Assistant Attending Obstetrician and Gynecologist at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. She is a board certified fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Allen is also a member of the Faculty Advisory Board and the Women’s Health Director of The Weill Cornell Community Clinic (WCCC). Dr. Allen was the recipient of the 2014 American Medical Women’s Association Presidential Award.

This year I resolve to focus less on my personal needs and development. I resolve, instead, to work to make the lives of those who have so little, better.


The weather has been bitterly cold in the Northeast. To be precise, described it as “brutal cold.” We left the city on Friday after my office hours were completed so we had a longer drive than usual to the Connecticut farm house due to holiday weekend traffic. Years ago, I would have dreaded walking into a “brutal cold” house but the little known tech goddess, Dr. Pat, has a nifty app on her phone, the Sensi Wi-Fi Thermostat, which allows the thermostat to be accessed remotely! From my office in the city on Friday morning, I increased the temperature settings throughout the house. I am amazed every time I do this.  Of course the Russians and the alt-right all know what I do and where I am, thanks to that smart phone. I deem that a small price to pay to enjoy the comfort of a warm house.

The snow that has fallen over the past week at our house was still unsullied. The vista was peaceful. As we pulled into the driveway, I took  a visual inventory. The helpful men in my life had been hard at work while we were away for two weeks. The trash haulers had been thorough. The snow had been removed in the front drive. The granite path from the driveway to the front door had been shoveled. The stack of firewood had been replenished on the porch. The house looked snug and cozy.

The Husband made a wonderful fire, albeit it’s not the way I would start a fire. I comforted myself with the thought that I didn’t have to haul the wood inside, stack it into the fireplace, open the chimney flu and light the kindling. We really part ways however when he embarks on his next step as boy scout fire starter and opens the French doors onto the side porch so that the fire “gets a good draft” and I freeze.

The Husband is addicted to He checks this site many times every day, especially when there is a “a change coming in.” He is from Michigan where the weather is always an exciting topic, especially in the winter. The lake effect is a particularly thrilling topic of discussion for everyone there, I am told.  Our property borders onto a very large pond that The Husband refers to as a lake, so we get to discuss whether the lake effect will apply to the snow we have here. I certainly hope not. I am from Kentucky and the only discussion about weather there is related to its impact on the crops and the cows.  You can see why I don’t share his enthusiasm for weather talk.

We passed the long weekend with chores, food shopping, breakfast and lunch in front of the fire, dinners for two, visiting friends, reading for hours and not much else.  After a decade of watching the ball drop in Times Square with two old friends who gave many Americans an amusing end to the year, I chose to boycott CNN’s “New Year’s Eve Live.” I simply could not watch Anderson Cooper ring in the New Year after he dumped Kathy Griffin over a bit of bad taste comedic activity. Anderson was only funny as Kathy’s straight man after all.

The Husband and I created  gratitude lists that we read out loud at midnight after a toast and a kiss. I am grateful for health, love, family and friends. I am grateful for the resurgence in civic engagement and for the increase in investigative reporting in print and digital media. Thank you: The New York Times, The Washington Post, Politico, The Atlantic, The New Yorker and The Boston Globe. I am grateful for the  conversations with each of you, our readers, daily. I am grateful for warmth during this dangerously cold period. I know that there are so many who have no home and may have no shelter.

Although the weather has been frightful all weekend, the time indoors  allowed me to reflect and prepare for 2018. This year I resolve to focus less on my personal needs and development. I resolve, instead, to work to make the lives of those who have so little better.  Sometimes we don’t give time or money because we feel that what we have to offer is too little to make a difference. I resolve to work with others who will know how to use my small offerings to make a difference to the elderly, the housebound and to women who have no options for health care.

I wish each of you a Happy New Year filled with hope, good health and friends to love. Thank you for being with us for the last 11 years as has grown from a kitchen table creation into a site for women over 40 that has amassed over 5,500 articles, essays and musings and is closing in on 12 million views. As we embark on 2018, we will continue to focus on physical, emotional and spiritual health. I urge you to comment more and share this site with friends and groups of women who want to know more about life over 40. Thank you for supporting us. We are here because of you.

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  • Diane Dettmann January 3, 2018 at 9:04 pm

    Dr. Pat, I so enjoyed reading your “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” essay. Born and raised in Minnesota I can definitely identify with the bitter cold winter. I loved your New Year’s Eve “celebration”, a quiet evening with Husband, gratitude lists to share, and a toast to 2018. Sounds like the perfect way to send out 2017 and welcome the new year. Hang those gratitude lists on your refrigerator and may your resolutions bring hope and support to others throughout the year. Wishing you and Women’s Voices for Change a wonderful 2018!

  • hillsmom January 1, 2018 at 5:29 pm

    Dear Dr. Pat, May I suggest a fireplace insert as my contribution to making your day better. 😎 We’ve had one in 3 houses, and finally left it in the third and last house. Throws a lot of heat with no need for “opening the French doors to the porch”. Ours had small glass doors so you could see the flames, but one could also open the doors. An added advantage is that the doors could be shut, the door dampers closed and no worries about starting a fire from an errant spark. We have now moved to a “Wrinkle Farm” and no longer have any fireplaces…sigh. All the best in 2018 from Gussie, too…=^..^=

    • Dr Pat January 2, 2018 at 11:46 am

      Dear Hillsmom,
      Sorry about the fireplaces lost. Sounds like you are dealing with rightsizing where you are.
      The decades and seasons of our lives each have unique opportunities for joy, the possibility of new friends and activities, new ways to stay fit and healthy. We hope for good health, enough retirement shekels to get by and an opportunity to stay engaged in the world, both big and small ways as the number on our odometer moves ever upward.
      We love hearing from you and welcome your commitment to the site and the community we continue to build with our readers and those who actively comment.
      Happy New Year,
      Dr. Pat

  • Patricia Yarberry Allen, M.D. January 1, 2018 at 10:14 am

    Dear Karen,
    We are so grateful for your support and your interest in our site.
    We look forward to hearing from you.
    Happy New Year!
    Dr Pat

  • Karen Cox January 1, 2018 at 9:08 am

    Wonderful article to read on the first day of 2018. I resolve to follow your example and try to make the world a better place. I’m also thankful for the investigative reporting of the publicications you mention, and I’m greatful for your publication. I intend to support it by a donation I make today.

    • Dr Pat January 2, 2018 at 11:48 am

      Dear Karen,
      Where do you live? I noticed that you have a southern email address.
      Thanks for reading and sending along your comments.
      Happy New Year, Dr. Pat